Cray Wanderers 3 - 0 Fisher
Wednesday 24 January 2024 - 19:45

Cray Wanderers 3-0  Fisher

Wednesday 24th January

London Senior Cup Second Round

Attn: 115

Fisher bowed out of any cup involvement for the season after a 3-0 defeat to Step Three side Cray Wanderers at Bromley. With Cray putting out a very strong side it was always going to be a tough task for Michael Williams’ young side, but he will have been pleased with the effort that allowed them to stay in the game until late in the second half in a disciplined performance.

Cray started strongly and tested seventeen year old Sam Nwabuko in goal with two early saves, gathering Tom Beere’s whipped cross and a back post shot, also from the former AFC Wimbledon midfielder. Fisher’s defence marshalled the prolific striker Gary Lockyer well, denying him any clear cut views of goal but on the left flank Yahaya Bamba was proving a handful with his pace and footwork on the ball.

Fisher’s first serious attempt on goal saw Kaylam Burgess advance from left wing back but his long range effort was comfortably gathered by regular first team keeper Shaun Rowley in the Cray goal. It was a rare sortie forward though as Lockyer finally broke the shackles of Prince Imoru and Ben Sangare but looped his header across Nwabuko and just past the far post from 10-yards out. However, the pressure was mounting and so the first goal did not come as surprise as Bamba’s burst of speed allowed him to escape Ibrahim Kamara and burst into the box. His low shot was well saved by Nwabuko, but the rebound found Tayo Oyebola at the back post and he threaded the ball past the retreating defenders from close range to give Cray the lead.

Fisher then started to enjoy their best period of the game, confidently stroking the ball around the pitch well, but not quite managing to pull the Cray defence around sufficiently to get the pacy Teddy Jones in behind the back line. However, when the impressive Kaylam Burgess played a ball down the left into Jones path, he linked up again with Burgess and they moved the ball inside to Jehovany Kinzonzi, but his shot was blocked. With the 31 Fisher supporters finding their voice, Fisher again pushed on and a ball played into midfield was intercepted by Burgess on the half-way line and the youngster drove forward before drilling a left-footed angled drive from 25-yards, which flew wide of the post.

The half ended with Bamba again the threat and a late chance saw him fore an effort into the side netting as Cray Wanderers went into the interval with a slender one-goal advantage and Fisher certainly still hanging on in the game.

The second spell saw Fisher looking to play a little higher and the opening five minutes saw them having good possession in the Cray half – with Darnelle Bailey-King looking to revel in a deep lying midfield role linking up play. However, on 51 minutes Cray took full control of the tie, from a very well worked move. Following some slick passing, Beere’s cross pass played in Alfie Evans, who took a touch inside the box before clinically finishing from twelve yards across Nwabuko into the bottom far corner.

Cray almost added a third immediately after, but Nwabuko made his best save of the night to hold Bamba’s header at full stretch to his right. Fisher looked to find a way back into the game and a surging run from Darnelle Bailey-King took him into the Cray area, but his powerful rising shot flew into the side netting. Both sides made changes and Kyron Cooper added some pace to the Fisher attack, but the Cray defence were not in any mood for giving up chances easily and a number of stoppages for injuries to both sides broke up play. The most serious of these saw Conor Darwish, coming on as late substitute for his first appearance since his knee injury in September, carried off with what looked a worrying injury to his other knee, with former Fisher physio Ally Maloney kindly supporting the Fisher medical team in treating the youngster.

Cooper and Burgess both flashed a couple of good low crosses across the Cray goal that Rowley gathered well but the keeper will feel he had one of his easier clean sheets. In the last of the five minutes of added time Cray added gloss to their scoreline with a third. A short corner allowed Franke Raymond space to shoot and his effort clipped the heel of Anton Cook and flew up and over everyone onto the far corner – a cruel blow to the hard working Fisher defence.

It will be Cray who go through to play either Dartford or Queens Park Rangers in the quarter final, but Fisher can be  pleased with a hard working performance against as strong side, with Manager Michael Williams saying after the game, “I think with every game, you just learn more about the squad and you think about the various aspects of the game, so maybe out of possession, in possession, set-pieces and I learn the boys can keep their discipline really well against a side that is a couple of league’s above. We battled and they kept running until the end and it’s just about finding that quality on the ball to try and hurt the opposition. We’ve had a really, tough fixture list where we’ve played some of the top sides with big budgets and it’s been great to learn against them and try our best. It’s all about learning at this level at this stage. We’re a young side, we’re a young squad and we’re learning lots really, really quickly and there’s nothing better than that.”


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